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The long war
Posted by: McQ on Thursday, May 31, 2007

Jason Steck at the Moderate Voice writes an interesting piece entitled "What is Al Qaeda". He begins with a familiar criticism:
The “war on terrorism” was always a misnomer. Terrorism is a tactic and you can’t have a war against a tactic. Tactics can’t attack, they can’t negotiate, and they can’t surrender. Tactics are just tools, tools used by people. And the people who used terrorism as a tactic on 9/11 against the World Trade Center towers, in 2000 against the USS Cole, and in 1998 against U.S. embassies in Africa are a group called al-Qaeda.
Of course every war on something is a misnomer. The "war on drugs" is a misnomer. Drugs can't attack, negotiate or surrender either. Neither can poverty. But each has come to describe, for better or worse, a program in which the nation undertakes the job of defeating something. Terrorism may not accurately describe who we're fighting, but it does provide an umbrella under which the totality of our effort can be comfortably settled. Of course, as Steck points out, that has its disadvantages as well, to include perhaps some misunderstandings and some false expectations.

Steck suggests it should be instead much more specific, such as "the war against al Qaeda". But, in my estimation, that is too specific. Not all terror organizations fall under the al Qaeda organization, even as it morphs. Two good examples are Hezbollah and Hamas. And a label like "the war on Islamic extremists" leaves others who don't fit in that category but use terror as a tactic out of the picture.

Terror is a tactic of the "weak". And I put "weak" in scare quotes because it is a relative weakness. It is a tactic used by those who don't have the military means, conventionally speaking, to confront their enemy. So they resort to the tactics which require little manpower, little outside support, little money and are, because of how terror is employed, fairly effective.


 
Anyway, he goes on to point out that al Qaeda today is not the al Qaeda of 9/11. It has been hunted, decimated, pushed out of Afghanistan and lost much of its leadership. Steck says that the franchise has changed, where previously al Qaeda leadership would choose those groups it would allow to affiliate with it and then support their actions, groups now affiliate themselves with al Qaeda with or without the blessing of al Qaeda leadership. I'm not sure that's necessarily true, but what is true is the organization has changed and has become largely decentralized out of necessity. Steck says:
Such organization presents serious challenges for the ongoing war against al-Qaeda. There is no command and control center to destroy, no commander to kill or capture, no key chain of operatives to roll up. Every limb of al-Qaeda that is cut off grows back, often in mutated form and in a new location. Both victories and defeats of al-Qaeda-inspired groups can be turned into recruitment tools. State sponsorship is no longer necessary to sustain al-Qaeda operations. There simply is no purely military solution.
Of course no one is suggesting there is a "purely military solution". While military action will be the most visible action, it shouldn't be assumed to be the only action being taken against al Qaeda. When earlier Steck pointed out that this effort has often been called "the Long War", concurrent with that description were the points that such a war must be won diplomatically, economically, legally, financially, politically and through law enforcement and intelligence networks as well as the military, when appropriate. It is only then that you can begin to not only amputate the the Hydra heads, but keep them from growing back. And that effort, while little recognized or talked about, has been under way since 9/11.
The shift in al-Qaeda’s organization requires a shift in tactics. Retreat or accommodation, such as a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, would not be sufficient, as affiliate groups would continue to press their advantage on other grounds, many of which are fundamentally unacceptable. As Michael P.F. van der Galian reports:
He also said that “a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq alone would not satisify al-Qaida.” He also demanded “that Bush remove all U.S. military and spies from Islamic countries, free all Muslims from U.S. prisons and end support for Israel.”
Similarly, continuing current policies focused on deterring or attacking state sponsors will also be insufficient, as state sponsorship is no longer required to support al-Qaeda-inspired operations. Indeed, state sponsorship may be a disadvantage to al-Qaeda groups insofar as it would burden their choices with external controls and would bring them out into the open where they could no longer hide.
Here Steck is alluding to the recent video released by the American al Qaeda Adam Gadhan aka "Azzam the American" and his latest rant. Steck's point is fundamentally true. Nothing we do will satisfy al Qaeda to the point that it will cease attacks on the US or the West. Al Qaeda's very existence is built on two pillars. One is that the West's influence (as well as presence) is an unacceptable poison which must be destroyed at all cost, and two, that the perfect world is a world in which Islam (and by that they mean their brand of it) is the only (not dominant, but sole) religion and that world is ruled by Islam's legal system.

And as he correctly notes, al Qaeda isn't interested in negotiating anything. It is a fairly simple and straight forward, but one-sided proposal. Do things our way or die.

When faced with an enemy that implacable the answer becomes fairly easy: "no, you first". And unfortunately that's where we are with this faction in whatever form it has now found itself.

But I'm not sure what Steck means by a "shift in tactics" being warranted because the al Qaeda organization is changing itself. Granted, there may be some adaptation we must make tactically, but it would seem, given the litany of success against al Qaeda that he describes, that continuing the tactics in all the areas I describe would be the best approach. They've apparently been effective. Obviously they've forced a change in al Qaeda's organization and the way it does business, but it is still too early to tell if that change has been such that it counters or negates the effectiveness of our present tactics.
Indeed, like Burger King vs. McDonald’s or Pepsi vs. Coke, the only way to counter a franchise affiliate program is with a better franchise. Unfortunately, the U.S. brand right now is perceived as having the global equivalent of mad cow disease. Policies that seek confrontation at every turn have weakened U.S. alliances and driven huge majorities of anti-Americanism in many Muslim countries.
I think this falls into the category of overstatement. It assumes a 'better franchise' because it is changing, but I would argue the better franchise doesn't change, but makes its competition change. I also think it is an overstatement to assume US policies have "weakened US alliances" since it is through those alliances in all of the other spheres I've mentioned which have effectively put al Qaeda on the defensive as a whole. As to the supposed "huge majorities" of anti-American muslims, I'll again point to the fact that this didn't begin with George Bush or Iraq.

Anti-Americanism in the ME has been there since the US began to back Israel and for most, will continue as long as that relationship exits. It also finds a base in lingering anti-colonialist sentiment which predates any US involvement in the area. The fact that it is more open now through the propaganda efforts of al Qaeda doesn't at all mean it is necessarily more virulent or different than it has been for years.

Steck concludes:
A fundamental rethinking of the U.S. brand name is required. Policies that repudiate torture and recent negotiations with Iran are beginning steps, but need to be built upon. New and generally pro-American governments in Germany and France provide an opportunity to rebuild alliances, but allies may be much harder to find among Muslim populations that are being increasingly radicalized. The war against al-Qaeda will indeed be a “long war”, but its toughest elements will not involve guns and bombs, but rather the painstaking process of building schools and developing economies.
Allies exist in secular muslim nations. What al Qaeda is attempting to do is to subvert those nations to radical theocracies. They are natural enemies. This isn't all about the West or the US, although the way it is reported, you'd think so. Those muslim nations under attack include Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Algeria and even Turkey. And naturally al Qaeda targets Israel for complete destruction.

All of those governments understand the threat and who their ally is in the fight against that threat. They also understand that they are constrained by the animosity generated by post-colonial sentiment and Israel's existence as to how far they can go in embracing an alliance with us (and the West) openly. That doesn't mean, however, that the alliance isn't strong or doesn't exist. It simply means it is better for internal consumption that they don't openly acknowledge it and, at times, even openly criticize the US while working behind the scenes to defeat al Qaeda.

I don't necessarily disagree with Steck's points that a) muslim populations will continue to be radicalized, or b) that our best chance is with schools and economics over bombs and guns. But I think it oversimplifies a very complex and daunting problem.

Obviously we'd like to see efforts to educate muslims and "lift all boats" economically pay off with a lessening in radicalization. But that assumes poverty and lack of education are the primary reason radicalization is occurring. A quick review of the 19 highjackers from 9/11 or those who did the London bombing of 7/7 will quickly disabuse you of that theory. None of them were poor or uneducated and all operated within Western society pretty well during their run up to the atrocities they committed.

Obviously the key is to offer a viable alternative to what organizations like al Qaeda offer. And interestingly, that's happening in a place where guns and bombs are predominant. Al Qaeda in Iraq is now starting to take a beating ... from Iraqis. Where al Qaeda's vision has taken root, such as under Taliban rule in Afghanistan, the result has been both barbaric and contested. We now see it again in Iraq, where they are the most despised and hunted entity there, to the point that Iraqi insurgents are turning to the US to form an alliance to defeat them.

But how to make that epiphany happen without violence? That's the $64,000 question.

We'd certainly all like to nip al Qaeda in the bud prior to violent confrontation, because in the two cases where they've attempted to subvert countries, they've ended up having problems with the population. That indicates a basic flaw in al Qaeda's religious ideology. Once people see what they are really all about, and see through their propaganda, they're less and less inclined to accept their ideology.

Where we fail pretty badly is we don't exploit those weaknesses through pointed and powerful propaganda efforts aimed at the populations in which al Qaeda recruits. We've essentially abandoned that field of battle to them. A concerted effort at harnessing propaganda as a tool to counter al Qaeda's propaganda would go a long way toward helping defeat attempts at radicalization.

But we suffer from two problems. One, propaganda has a bad connotation with us, even if it can be a powerful tool for positive change. And two, as we all know, anything identified as coming from the US is rejected out of hand by much of the muslim world. So it has to come from within the muslim world. Our best chance then is to engage the governments of those secular muslim states who know their days are numbered if al Qaeda prevails and work out a smart and effective multi-media campaign which helps turn the al Qaeda propaganda tide.

That, coupled with economic improvements within those countries (which then see fewer economic emigrants to other places, which mean fewer assimilation problems and fewer opportunities to radicalize disaffected and unassimilated immigrants) may begin to erode al Qaeda's popularity and base.

But make no mistake, Steck is absolutely correct to point out that no matter what we end up calling it, it is indeed a long war.
 
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That’s the most thoughtful post I’ve seen on foreign policy from you McQ in a long time. I think, though, the elephant in the room is Iraq. US alliances in the region have been weakened by our Iraq policies, it has taken away from the focus on counter-terrorism, and it has helped radicalize the growing youth population in the Mideast. Of fundamental importance is to have faith in our values. What’s really happening is an extremist/fascistic form of Islam is trying to win over the Islamic world, most of whom do not agree with that vision, even if they are anti-american and state sympathy for al qaeda because it’s confronting America. Most, especially the youth, will find the benefits of consumer goods, a better life style, and ultimately freedom far preferable than puritanical extremism. That’s where the "war" will be won or lost — and that’s why the focus on regime change and military means is misguided. Yes, military options have to be on the table, but fundamentally they are very risky due to the chances of things going bad.

Also the fact that al qaeda is disliked in Iraq has nothing to do with our invasion of Iraq — they would and were disliked there anyway. Al qaeda isn’t as strong as some make it out to be, and if you take away its opportunity to use anti-Americanism to radicalize the region, they’ll be enemies of almost every state in the region. We can’t really "win" until we find a way out of Iraq. It’s not a battlefield conducive to our strengths, but plays into those of extremists.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
This isn’t all about the West or the US, although the way it is reported, you’d think so. Those muslim nations under attack include Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Algeria and even Turkey...

...All of those governments understand the threat and who their ally is in the fight against that threat. They also understand that they are constrained by the animosity generated by post-colonial sentiment and Israel’s existence as to how far they can go in embracing an alliance with us (and the West) openly.
The neo-con argument:

Turkey aside there is the problem that these are all dictatorships and given a free choice most of their citizens would be against their rule. These regimes are as friendly and responsive to Western ideals as Cuba or N. Korea, allying with them is immoral. The ’better franchise’ might do better not to include sponsoring torture in the dungeons of Muslim dictators.

There is no way the West can assist Muslim pro-democracy activists and any state that suppresses them - at the same time. If Westerners cannot support the struggle for democracy in the Muslim world and Al Qaeda is indeed independent of all state support, then Al Qaeda-type religious extremism becomes the most viable vehicle of rebellion against the regimes. It coincidentally is beneficial for the dictators to allow existance of a marginal Al Qaeda-type threat to ensure a continued alliance with the West. This allows them to say "look we might be bad, but those damn religious nuts are so much worse". And every so often a bomb will go off that demonstates this.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
that’s why the focus on regime change and military means is misguided.
I think regime change should be the goal in most authoritarian nations. Eventual regime change. Military means is just one method, and the least preferable.

Authoritarian regimes should be isolated when ’detente’ doesn’t or isn’t likely to lead to a positive modification of behavior. We can have all the friendly relations in the world with the people of Iran, but if the regime continues to pursue nuclear weapons, continues supporting terrorism, and continues to brutalize its citizens, then I don’t see how we could continue supporting the regime through trade with them.

’Detente’ has worked, to some extent, with China because any military threat from them hasn’t been all that immediate.

Beyond that, if you look at what JTF-HOA is doing, you’ll see a prime example of what the military can do, short of using force. It is one of the silent success stories that has been playing out since 9/11. More emphasis within the government is needed on these types of operations.
Hart is in charge of approximately 1,700 military and civilian personnel from all of the armed services, the Coast Guard and several other foreign militaries. The command, which currently falls under U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility (with the exceptions of Tanzania and Uganda, two countries technically under U.S. European Command’s oversight) was formed in 2002 and led by a Marine Corps two star general until the Navy took over the mission in early 2006.

The command focuses on drilling wells, providing medical and veterinary assistance and building schools in hopes that “by improving health, we will improve security,” Hart said.

The mission statement of task force states the goals of the command are to “prevent conflict, promote regional stability and protect coalition interests in order to prevail against extremism.”

Hart said this mission is accomplished by conducting military-to-military training, civil-military operations and maintaining persistent engagement with the countries in the region.

...

Beyond boosting military capabilities around the Horn, Hart said his main focus is on influencing the next generation of children in the region to “stay away from extremism.”
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
No long comment, but since I often criticize your Iraq articles harshly, I thought I’d be fair and mention here that there are several things here I agree with, and where I disagree, it’s mostly a question of degree and emphasis, not a fundamental disagreement. I think this is an okay post. Don’t have a serious problem with it.

However, I agree with Steck more than I agree with you. It’s easy to talk talk about how this war is more than military action, but the actual track record, both with the Bush Admin and in your own writings, of what you’re actually promoting in the way of those other policies is thin on details. Where, in other words, is the beef, when it comes to all those nonmilitary policies? If Barack Obama wants to quadruple our foriegn aid budget and Mitt Romney predictably begins to bash it with tough-sounding idiot talk about "appeasement", will you come down on the right side?

I also agree with unaha and Keith Indy, not with you on secular Muslim states. Our enemies are those who create conditions for violence and instability. On that scale, most of our secular Muslim allies fail the test and are not our friends. It doesn’t matter how many Islamists they dissapear. That’s no substitute for genuinely helping their countries, and us in the anti-terrorism fight, by surrendering their power and dissolving their regimes, or at least making vast governance reforms from the ground up, including inviting power-sharing with non-regime and even non-secular forces.

 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
I think regime change should be the goal in most authoritarian nations.
I would prefer opening up trade and other forms of communication, and slowly spreading ideas and offering help so that people make their own decision to change. The EU did a really good job in creating conditions that forced Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania to change direction — the elites realized they had more to gain being "in the club" than siding with authoritarian leaders.

But if we change the regime without it being primarily an internal process the chances are good the new boss won’t end up much different than the old boss. I think that’s indicated well in your example of military success (not using force) — the idea is how the next generation will think. That is a good example you posted.

I’m convinced detente set up the peaceful end of the Soviet Union and the possibility for the kind of successful transformation of Eastern Europe. Detente with China hastened the move from communism to state capitalism (which, if China follows the South Korean/Taiwan model, could down the line lead to real political openness — the Chinese government will face a time of truth in at least 20 years where they’ll have to have major political reforms or face a revolt).

Moreover, isolated authoritarian regimes like Cuba and North Korea find it easier to maintain sometimes brutal control because of that isolation. My blog entry today talks about the nations around Iraq with whom we’ll have to deal if we want to avoid real chaos when we leave. I make the point that we have to deal with the world we have, we can’t just wish there were other regimes there. In that context, current conditions force us to do some problem solving Realpolitik. But that can’t be an end in itself, I think ultimately stability in the region does require the regimes to change. Saudi Arabia is more repressive than Iran, after all. They are weaker so we’re not worried about their military capacity, but that repression is not sustainable with a modernizing Mideast. The question is "how do we do it?" It doesn’t look like Iraq gives a model. Hopefully in time Iraq will be stable and help provide an alternative, but between then and now we need containment and detente.

Communism was doomed because it was contrary to human nature and how the world works. Detente and containment were necessary to create conditions where it could fail without having to engulf the world in all out nuclear war. Islamic extremism is weaker than communism; the problem will be how the states move from what they have to something more modern and open (not necessarily a western style democracy). Detente and containment now are a means to try to prevent war and oil crises until that happens.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"New and generally pro-American governments in Germany and France provide an opportunity to rebuild alliances, but allies may be much harder to find among Muslim populations that are being increasingly radicalized."

Sarkozy wants to pull French troops out of Afghanistan. Germany only participates in the peacekeeping force there. Let’s be serious and realize that even if we elected a half French, half German socialist that there might not be too much of an alliance to re-build. Canada is also thinking of pulling its troops out of Afghanistan as well.

If Muslim societies are being radicalized, I think that bodes very, very well for getting allies among muslims. When the wackos are bombing Europe, America, and Israel, moderate muslims can sit back and eat popcorn. Now that the effects are being felt among their own people, they have pay attention.

In Iraq, our great results in Anbar seem mainly to stem from the population getting a taste of Al Qaeda/Taliban style madness and then deciding the occupiers to be a lesser of two evils (so to speak.)


 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
"most, especially the youth, will find the benefits of consumer goods, a better life style, and ultimately freedom far preferable than puritanical extremism."

Those people are our natural allies, however, they tend to be quiet and not want to rock the boat. The radicals are louder, organized, and growing.

I also think that its pretty easy to see from China, etc., that you can have consumer goods, a better lifestyle, and still not have political freedom. See also Saudi Arabia. I don’t think economics will solve this problem - free trade with Saudi Arabia will not solve the problem. A new State department initiative or PR campaign will not solve this problem.

All the talk of "making a new franchise" is wishful thinking - American style capitalism has been a "franchise" for 50 years. It didn’t work. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was EDUCATED in the United States.

Making people "love America" because, for example, we rescued Bosnian muslims, Kuwait, Kosovo, and were feeding people in Somalia does not seem to work.

Imagine if I told you the government needed to come up with a franchise to convince American evangelicals to become more moderate and accept abortion, gay marriage, etc. Good luck.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Sarkozy wants to pull French troops out of Afghanistan. Germany only participates in the peacekeeping force there. Let’s be serious and realize that even if we elected a half French, half German socialist that there might not be too much of an alliance to re-build. Canada is also thinking of pulling its troops out of Afghanistan as well.

If Muslim societies are being radicalized, I think that bodes very, very well for getting allies among muslims. When the wackos are bombing Europe, America, and Israel, moderate muslims can sit back and eat popcorn. Now that the effects are being felt among their own people, they have pay attention.
You are right that radical Islam will threaten Muslim governments more than anyone else, ultimately, and I would add that this probably would scare average citizens there as well. The real danger is less Islam vs. the West and more internal to the Muslim world. France and Germany want to be allied with the US (they are less anti-American than anti-Bush or anti-the current policy) but they have a different perspective on war and the best way to deal with the terrorist threat. In general most of the EU sees war as really only a last resort thing, and not an extension of politics, due to its human cost. They also worry that violence in the region that has the West killing Muslims will radicalize their own Muslim societies. The thing Americans sometimes miss is that European Muslims tend to be moderate and open to modernism, even if there are violent and angry groups creating trouble. They see their future dependent on handling the population changes coming to Europe over the next 30 years or so, and having a kind of Islam vs. the West struggle could pose an existential crisis for European society. To avoid this, they want to marginalize the extremists and have solid relations with the rest of the Muslim world.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Harun, don’t sell short the ideas America exports — for every terrorist educated here, there are numerous folk who go back with a positive image of the West. I’m not sure what you mean by "franchise;" I don’t expect other cultures to have exactly what we have, they’ll modenrize and open to markets in their own way, and at a pace most Americans probably will think too slow.

China is undergoing a natural transition given its political culture. I’d be shocked to see a western democracy any time soon, I don’t think they could sustain it, it would collapse into various regional and political rivalries that would lead to likely chaos and, ultimately, a return to authoritarianism. One point I keep making is democracy is not an easy system, and if a polity isn’t ready for it, it won’t work. We can’t expect changes quickly.

China is more free than it was 20 years ago, and the Communist Party is no longer where you want to be if you want to be in the elite class. Yet they hold power, fearing breakdown (in large part due to Chinese history). But what’s happening is the middle class is growing and gaining wealth. Historically the process towards movement to a more liberal regime is: a) the middle class gains wealth and is happy not to rock the boat because they are benefiting from the system; then b) a new generation of middle class start seeing their position as natural and ask why it is the politicians have all the power. They challenge the politicians who, ultimately either decide to crack down and set the society backwards, or make compromises and changes that slowly leads to political freedom. I doubt China will move to democracy, but they’ll have to find a way to give more political power to the middle class within 20 or so years, or else they’ll have real problems. In 1989 it was mostly students, intellectuals and some dissidents, the mass didn’t really demand a change. Next time, it’ll be far more widespread.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
the Communist Party is no longer where you want to be if you want to be in the elite class
Cretin. My in-laws would disagree with that opinion.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
Here is a good article about the emerging Chinese middle class. But who am I to believe, articles in journals and newspapers, Chinese citizens I talk to, or some internet poster who cites his inlaws and can’t seem to hold back some need to insult?

There is also talk of democracy growing in China. Don’t get me wrong — the Communist party still holds political power, and there are disagreements between the political and military wings. The test, as I noted above, will come when the wealthy middle class (and especially their offspring in the next generation) demand more political power. But compared to the era of Mao, China is definitely moving in the right direction. As I said, these changes don’t take place overnight.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"The thing Americans sometimes miss is that European Muslims tend to be moderate and open to modernism, even if there are violent and angry groups creating trouble."

One word answer: Hamburg

"China is more free than it was 20 years ago, and the Communist Party is no longer where you want to be if you want to be in the elite class."

...of the 3,220 Chinese citizens with a personal wealth of 100 million yuan ($13 million) or more, 2, 932 are children of high-level cadres. Of the key positions in the five industrial sectors—finance, foreign trade, land development, large-scale engineering and securities—85% to 90% are held by children of high-level cadres.

But, yes, I do agree that in China now, the party is not the ONLY way to be in the elite class.

"China is undergoing a natural transition given its political culture. I’d be shocked to see a western democracy any time soon, I don’t think they could sustain it, it would collapse into various regional and political rivalries that would lead to likely chaos and, ultimately, a return to authoritarianism. One point I keep making is democracy is not an easy system, and if a polity isn’t ready for it, it won’t work. We can’t expect changes quickly."

I lived in Indonesia in 1992. Suharto was golden. His numbers were good and he was bring prosperity to a country that "wasn’t ready for democracy." If you had asked me then, I’d have said Suharto falling from power suddenly was unthinkable. Guess what? Authoritarian regimes paper over their cracks and the changes may come far more quickly than one expects. I see no reason why the Chinese could not have a functioning democracy if India can do it. But you are correct that its not easy.



 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
"But who am I to believe, articles in journals and newspapers, Chinese citizens I talk to, or some internet poster who cites his inlaws and can’t seem to hold back some need to insult?"

I’ll take the internet poster since you are now showing links abot the "emerging middle class" which is not "the elite" you were mentioning before.

Also, beware of "Chinese citizens I talk to" maybe you need to ask what Daddy does and how they can afford to be in the USA. Not only do you have tons of cadres’ children coming over (Deng Xiao Ping’s grandkid is a US citizen!) you also have apologetic nationalists who don’t want to talk about negative issues of the new China. That said, I don’t want to dampen the changes in China too much...it is occuring. Its like making sausages, though, best not to see how its done.

In any ex-communist country many of the new, emerging capitalist class you will scratch their skin and find ex-communists who simply move faster than their party bretherns. For example, when you meet with a privately owned Vietnamese factory, and the owner is 6’ 2" tall (despite being born in the war era) who has visited Italy with the provincial governor to buy machines (most factory owners travel with politicians, you know), you have to wonder just how "private" that company is.

(6’ 2" tall when all of the factory workers are under 5’ 6" do the nutrional math."
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Authoritarian regimes paper over their cracks and the changes may come far more quickly than one expects.
One for the fortune cookies, and I hope it proves true!

Interesting couple of posts, Harun. I’ll read the link in a bit.
 
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URL: http://
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Vicious Capitalism

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Buy Dale's Book!
Slackernomics by Dale Franks

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